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Jim Bond




Location: NY
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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 6:58 pm    Post subject: Arms & Armour of Myth & Legends         Reply with quote

Hi everybody.

I am trying to compile as big a list of Arms and Armour of Myths & Legends as possible (ie. Excalibur, Hammer Of Thor, Sword Of Damocles, etc). It doesn't matter how popular or obscure they are, even if they are based in reality, I would like to hear about them. Can you guys help me out (rhetorical)?

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 7:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

How about Roland's sword Durendal, the sword he tried to break against the rock when he knew he was dying?

Or what about Charlemagne's unconquered sword, Joyeuse? This obviously has links to reality, although there are questions surrounding the existing "sword of Charlemagne", the one in the Louvre that was used as the Coronation Sword of the Kings of France.

I can possibly look up some more later, but not tonight.

Interesting thread, considering I've attempted to create some "legendary" swords in my fantasy novel.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Mike Arledge




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am a big fan of Nothung, the sword of Siegfried. I am actually in the processes of designed a mod to my Kris Cutlery Viking into my creation of Nothung.
Mike J Arledge

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Jim Adelsen
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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sword is also known as Gram used by Sigurd (Sigfried).

Mike Arledge wrote:
I am a big fan of Nothung, the sword of Siegfried. I am actually in the processes of designed a mod to my Kris Cutlery Viking into my creation of Nothung.

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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

These may have possibly more than a slight link with reality, but what about some of the swords mentioned in the sagas? Like Skofnung, the sword taken from Hrolf Kraki's burial mound by Skeggi of Midfirth and handed down after that for a century and a half.

There's also Aettartangi, the sword of Grettir the Strong, the "Sword of Generations", and Hneitir, the sword of King Olaf the Holy of Norway, taken from the burial mound of an earlier King Olaf. Again, these are swords of historical figures, but how much is history, and how much is legend? History and legend can be intermingled, even inseperable when it comes to the distant past.

I may have more to come later!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar


Last edited by Richard Fay on Sat 03 Feb, 2007 7:56 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Jim Adelsen
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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 7:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Skofnung was the magical sword of Hrolf Kraki.
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Feb, 2007 8:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

Excalibur was originally called Caliburn, in the earlier stories of Arthur.

In Beowulf, there was the giant's sword with which the hero beheaded Grendel. The blade melted like ice from the monster's blood. There was also Hrunting, the sword loaned to Beowulf by Hrothgar's orator Unferth. This blade failed him in his battle against Grendel's mother.

The legendary Celtic warrior Cuchullain rode in a war chariot with iron sickles, blades, hooks, spikes, and nails. He also apparently had an ivory hilted sword, several short swords, throwing and stabbing spears, a five-pronged trident, and a dark red curved shield.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 2:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a fairly comprehensive list of sword names in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, in the articles sword makers and sword.

Regards

--
Vincent
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 3:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Fay wrote:

In Beowulf, there was the giant's sword with which the hero beheaded Grendel. The blade melted like ice from the monster's blood. There was also Hrunting, the sword loaned to Beowulf by Hrothgar's orator Unferth. This blade failed him in his battle against Grendel's mother.
!


Wait, It's been awhile since I read Beowolf.... but Beowolf killed Grendal by ripping his arm off with his bare hands, because Grendal was magically invunerable to weapons.

The giant's dagger (used like a two handed sword) was used to kill the mother, in her underwater cave.

Or do I misremember?

P.S. Any good links on Cuchullain?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There was the Aegis, the shield of Zeus carried by his daughter, Athena. And the armor and shield of Achilles was forged for him by Hephaestus at the behest of Thetis.
Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 6:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Barris wrote:
There was the Aegis, the shield of Zeus carried by his daughter, Athena. .


Didn't Athena personally make that shield out of the skin of her rapist? (Gracious, I can't remember a thing.)

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Jim Adelsen
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 6:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Odin had a spear named Grungir which never missed its mark. He also had a bow that shot 10 arrows with every pull.
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 7:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:

Wait, It's been awhile since I read Beowolf.... but Beowolf killed Grendal by ripping his arm off with his bare hands, because Grendal was magically invunerable to weapons.

The giant's dagger (used like a two handed sword) was used to kill the mother, in her underwater cave.

Or do I misremember?

P.S. Any good links on Cuchullain?


George,

If my translation is accurate, which it may not be, Beowulf cut Grendel's head off after Grendel was dead, as an act of vengeance. This is what it says in my version, posibly not the best, but it was inexpensive and available at the time (it's the Bantam Classic Beowulf and Other Old English Poems, translated by Constance B. Hieatt):
Constance B. Hieatt wrote:

Among the armor in that place he saw a victorious sword: an ancient giant's sword, strong of edge, the glory of warriors. It was the choicest of weapons except that this good and splendid work of giants was too huge for any other man to carry in battle...

Hygelac's thane raised the weapon firmly by the hilt, angry and determined - that blade was not useless to the warrior, for he wished to repay Grendel at once for the many attacks...

The fierce warrior had repaid him for that so that now he found Grendel lying in his resting-place, wearied by war, dead of his injuries at the fight in Heorot. The corpse burst wide open when it suffered a blow after death; Beowulf cut off its head with a hard stroke of the sword...

Meanwhile; because of the blood shed, the sword began to shrink; the weapon looked like an icicle of battle. That was a great marvel; it just melted as ice does, when the Father releases the bond of frost; he who has power over times and seasons unbinds the fetters of the water - that is the true Creator.


Perhaps my translation is wrong, but I just cited what I had read in my source.

As for Cuchullain, I got that information out of a couple of books, so I don't have a web link.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 8:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

George,

I will post the section about Beowulf's fight with Grendel's mother from Constance B. Hieatt's translation in Beowulf and Other Old English Poems. It describes how Beowulf's sword failed to harm the ogress, and how he wrestled with her. It makes sense that the mother would be as immune to weapons as her son, although early literature often doesn't make logical sense:
Constance B. Hieatt wrote:

When she reached the bottom, the she-wolf of the water bore the armed chieftain to her dwelling in such a way that, courageous as he was, he could not use his wepaons. Many strange beings afflicted him in the water; many a sea beast treid to break his battle coat with its warlike tusks; many monsters pursued him. Then the hero saw that he was in some sort of enemy hall, where no water harmed him at all and its sudden rush could not touch him because of the roof of the chamber; he saw firelight, brilliant flames shining bright.

Now the brave man could see the accursed monster of the deep, the mighty mere-woman. He did not hold back his blow, but gave a mighty rush with his sword so that the blade sang a fierce war song on her head. But the stranger found that the flashing sword would not bite or do her harm; the edge failed the prince in his need. It had endured many skirmishes before and had often sheared the helmet and mail of a doomed man: this was the first time that the glory of the precious treasure was diminished.

But the kinsman of Hygelac was resolute and intent on achieving brave deeds; his courage did not fail him at all. The angry warrior threw the ornamented sword so that the firm steel edge lay on the earth; he trusted in his own strength, his mighty handgrip. So must a man do when he hopes to gain long-lasting fame in war - he cannot worry about saving his life. The leader of the Geats did not flinch from battle; he seized Grendel's mother by the shoulder. In a fury, the bold warrior flung the deadly foe so that she fell to the floor. She quickly retaliated with grim grasps and seized him; weary in spirit, the strongets of champions stumbled and fell down.

The demon pounced on the intruder, drew her knife, broad and bright of edge - she wished to avenge her child, her only son. The woven mail which covreed Beowulf's shoulder protected his life and withstood the entry of point and edge. Ecgtheow's son, the Geatish champion, would have perished then under the earth if his armor, the hard war mail, had not given him help; and holy God brought about victory in battle. The wise Lord, Ruler of the heavens, easily decided the issue rightly, after Beowulf stood up again.


Again, I can't swear by the accuracy of this translation, but this version does suggest that Beowulf slew Grendel's mother with his bare hands, and beheaded Grendel with the giant's sword after Grendel was already dead. However, in Records of the Medieval Sword, Ewart Oakeshott describes a hilt with fragmentary remains of the blade as looking like the giant's sword after the blade melted. He mentions how Beowulf cut off Grendel's mother's head, and the blade melted in "iron icicles".

I would like to hear some input regarding this issue. What do some of the other translations say in the sections about the death of Grendel's mother and the beheading of Grendel?

By the way, Beowulf's mail shirt should certainly be added to the list of legendary arms and armour. It certainly served the hero well. The poem apparently mentions it's greatness several times.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Shawn Shaw




Location: Boston, MA USA
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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow...what an interesting thread. I'd love to see the list you come up with when you're done. Here are a few ideas. I don't have much for sources on these but I'm sure if you poke around on google you'll come up with something.

Poseidon's Trident

Apollo's Bow

Herakles' Club

Diana's Bow

Gae Bulga-Cu Chulainn's spear

The Dagda's club-one end kills and the other heals

Fragarach/Answerer-Sword of Lugh (he also has a magic sling that he uses to kill Balor)

Yellow Shaft & Red Javelin-spears used by Mannan Mac Lir

Great Fury & Little Fury-swords used by Mannan Mac Lir
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again! Happy

Here's an interesting one, and perhaps a bit obscure. This is from the Celtic legend "Y Chadee" as presented in Celtic Myths and Legends by Peter Berresford Ellis. In this story, the hero Eshyn is told by the Queen of the Fairies that he can wrong an evil change wrought in him by serpent's venom if he takes Y Chadee, the Everlasting Pearl, as his wife. To do this he must enter the cave of heroes and seize the Slatt yn Ree, the Sword of Orion, known also by the name Cliwe-ny-Sollys, the Sword of Light.

I'll see what else I can find.

Stay safe! Happy

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar


Last edited by Richard Fay on Sun 04 Feb, 2007 10:43 am; edited 1 time in total
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
The giant's dagger (used like a two handed sword) was used to kill the mother, in her underwater cave.


Hi George! Happy

Now I am a bit confused as to what the original story actually says about this. I took a look at the version of Beowulf in Norma Lorre Goodrich's The Medieval Myths, and here the author has Beowulf use the giant's sword to slay Grendel's mother, and behead the dead Grendel as a reward for the monster's foul deeds. Then, after these deeds are perfomred, the seething blood of the ogress melts the blade. The timing seems a bit off; wouldn't the blade begin to melt from the ogress's blood as he tried to cut off Grendel's head? Goodrich's version is more of a retelling ("a brilliant recreation of the great myths of the medieval world" according to the cover) than a translation, so I don't know what details she might have changed slightly.

Does anyone have a more recent translation of Beowulf? How do these scenes play out in a recent translation? I would be interested in finding out.

Thanks!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

El Cid had his sword Tizona, fastened to his dead hand when he was placed upon his horse Bavieca and lead out against the Moors beseiging Valencia.

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello again!

Here's another one: the sword Cortana, a "relation" of Joyeuse and Durindana (Durendal?), given to Ogier the Dane by the fairy Morgana during his dubbing. The fairy substituted the sword that Charlemange was going to give to Ogier with one of her own procuring, with these words written on the steel: "My name is Cortana, of the same steel and temper as Joyeuse and Durindana". This showed that a superior power watched over Ogier.

I may have more to come!

Can you tell I like this stuff! Wink

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Dan Howard




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PostPosted: Sun 04 Feb, 2007 12:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Spear of Destiny: the alleged spear with which Longinus stabbed Christ while on the cross.
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